This partly funny, partly childish, partly offensive film is peculiar right from its erroneous title. Mike and Dave, the two foolhardy brothers played by Adam Devine and Zac Efron, only “need” wedding dates for about the first 10 minutes. Then they get ’em, then the movie goes on. If the plotlines and character behavior aren’t stupid enough for you by that point, no worries, as they get a lot more dim-witted.
Why do they need wedding dates? Because mom and dad pull them aside, not long before the day their younger sister Jeanie (the shrill-voiced Sugar Lyn Beard) is to be married in Hawaii, and tell them that this family event is one that they’re NOT going to screw up.
Some funny stuff follows: video footage of past family events that the brothers, in outrageously immature style, certainly did put a damper on. But a little bit of that kind of thing goes a long way. Besides, there’s still the unusual solution to the problem that dad comes up with. Mike and Dave will go to the wedding with dates, not stag. Why this will ensure that they’ll behave is never mentioned, but at least it gives the movie its title.
All you need to know about Mike and Dave is that they’re in business together as tequila salesmen, Mike is older and more hot-headed than Dave (you can tell, because Mike screams more, like a little girl!) and though both are dolts, Dave is maybe a smidge smarter than Mike. The answer to their predicament is to run an ad on craigslist: “Two men need wedding dates in Hawaii.”
Yup, a few hardy laughs follow when, the ad having gone viral, they get all sorts of replies, but the film’s writers and director obviously weren’t told that jokes lose their edge when they go into repetitive mode.
Two of the women who find out about this free offer, and who, as one of them suggests to the other, “need an adventure,” are longtime friends and roommates and bubbleheaded waitresses Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza) and Alice (Anna Kendrick). They drink too much and smoke too much pot, and Alice was recently jilted at the altar – a plotline that keeps popping up, but in the end adds nothing to the story.
Tatiana is the brains of the outfit, but that stretches about as far as the degree of intelligence that Dave has over Mike. Feigning ignorance of the Hawaii business, the gals make sure that the guys meet them. This involves a sight gag with a slow-moving car which, believe it or not, is never tied into a later scene involving “stampeding” horses. What a wasted opportunity!
What is never wasted here is finding an opening where practically every character gets to curse, sometimes casually, sometimes just because they think it’s funny to be naughty. This is all established well before the introduction of Mike and Dave’s outspoken, aggressive lesbian cousin Terry (Alice Wetterlund), who gets to deliver the script’s best and squirmiest dialogue.
There are definitely a few moments of communal hilarity for audiences, but remember that a moment is a very short period of time. A bigger problem is that a lot of this feels improvised, but these actors don’t appear to be comfortable as improvisers. There are too many pauses.
Worse, like so many other raucous comedies these days, this tries to be funny for most of its running time, then in a blatant rip-off of Judd Apatow’s trademark script structure, it gets all serious in the third act, hurting the momentum and timing, then bounces back into comedy.
It’s a movie in which most of the actors are permitted to overdo everything, and is filled with juvenile humor for easy-to-please audiences. There’s no doubt that some members of those audiences will feel they’ve gotten get their money’s worth just from seeing Zac Efron take off his shirt.
— Ed Symkus covers movies for More Content Now.
"Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates" is rated R. Written by Andrew Jay Cohen and Brendan O’Brien; directed by Jake Szymanski. With Zac Efron, Adam Devine, Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza. Grade: C-